Ruling

Resolution Statement 09687-17 O’Hara v Telegraph & Argus

    • Date complaint received

      31st August 2017

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Resolution Statement 09687-17 O’Hara v Telegraph & Argus

1. Martin O’Hara v Telegraph & Argus Martin O’Hara complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Telegraph & Argus had breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Corbyn is becoming more statesmanlike”, published on 23 May 2017.

2. The article was a letter which had been submitted to the newspaper by the complainant.

3. The complainant expressed concern that his letter had been edited by the newspaper, prior to publication, and the newspaper had failed to inform him that it had done so. He said that he had submitted his letter in order to put on record his concerns about the Labour Party candidate in his local area. He said that following the editing process, this aspect of his letter had been omitted: this had affected the meaning and balance of his letter, because it had suggested that he fully supported the Labour Party and its candidate.

4. The newspaper said that it had always reserved the right to edit correspondence, as made clear on its letters page every day. In any event, the newspaper did not accept that the editing process had altered the meaning of the complainant’s letter.

Relevant Code Provisions

5. Clause 1 (Accuracy)

i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information or images, including headlines not supported by the text.

ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and — where appropriate — an apology published. In cases involving IPSO, due prominence should be as required by the regulator.

iii) A fair opportunity to reply to significant inaccuracies should be given, when reasonably called for.

iv) The Press, while free to editorialise and campaign, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact

Mediated Outcome

6. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.

7. Following IPSO’s intervention, the publication offered the complainant to submit a further letter for publication. It also offered to publish the following clarification, on its Letters page.

On 25 May 2017 we published a letter from Mr Martin O’Hara, headlined “Corbyn is becoming more statesmanlike”. The letter was edited before publication giving the impression that Mr O’Hara had commented favourably on the direction which the Labour Party was taking, prior to the upcoming election. In fact, Mr O’Hara’s letter was intended to convey that he no longer felt he could support the Labour Party, given his serious concerns about the Labour candidate Naz Shah, who he says has alienated him from the Party.

8. The complainant said that this resolved the matter to his satisfaction.

9. As the complaint was successfully mediated, the Complaints Committee did not make a determination as to whether there had been any breach of the Code.

Date complaint received: 23/05/2017
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 28/07/2017